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17 August 2011
Regions with biggest cojones revealed
by George Atkinson

Writing in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers have revealed the US regions where men are most likely to take risks to establish their manliness... and die young. The study notes the high rates of accidental death among men who live in states with a "culture of honor."

A culture of honor puts a high value on the defense of reputation - sometimes with violence. It can develop in environments with historically few natural resources, danger of rustling, and low police presence. Cultures of honor in the U.S. are most evident in the south and west, such as the states of South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming.

Men from honor states tend to respond to reputation threats with higher levels of hostility and violence compared to people from non-honor states, mostly in the Northeast and upper Midwest, such as New York, Wisconsin and Ohio.

The men who most believe in a culture of honor told the researchers they were quite willing to engage in risky behaviors, such as bungee jumping or gambling away a week's wages. But this willingness to take risks might well translate into an early death, say study authors Collin Barnes, Ryan Brown and Michael Tamborski of the University of Oklahoma.

They compared the rates of accidental death - by drowning, car wrecks, over-exertion and so on - and found that people in honor states had significantly higher accidental death rates than did people in non-honor states, especially among white men.

Honor states had a 14 percent higher accidental death rate in the cities and a 19 percent higher rate of accidental death in rural areas, compared to non-honor states. "Exposing yourself to potentially deadly situations is proof of strength and courage, and because this proof is such a concern for people living in cultures of honor, they suffer from a higher rate of accidental fatalities," concludes the study.

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Source: Social Psychological and Personality Science

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